Leading Tamil diaspora group demands protection for Muslims

“Muslim civilians lost lives; their homes, businesses and mosques were ransacked and burnt; and tens of thousands were displaced. Many of these attacks were carried out under the patronage of Buddhist monks and in the presence of security forces. The hatred against Muslims was systematically ramped up over recent years and the community has been harassed and intimidated in a multitude of ways – deceit and false propaganda, calls to boycott Muslim professionals and their businesses, and imposing dress codes in violation of basic human rights. Actions of the extremist Sinhala Buddhist elements thus resulted in the creation of a fertile ground for extremist Islamic elements to exploit. This is undoubtedly one factor that contributed to the Easter Sunday violence,” GTF said in a statement. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has express its strong condemnation of the anti-Muslim hatred and hysteria being whipped up by sections of Sinhala Buddhist community, and called on the Sri Lankan authorities to take immediate steps to arrest this dangerous development.Following the end of the decades-long civil war in 2009, the Muslim community became the prime target of the extremist elements among the Sinhala Buddhist community, and this was aided and abetted by powerful forces within the majority community. The emerging trend was unmissable – well-planned violence in the Kalutara district in June 2014, highly-coordinated riots in the Ampara and Kandy districts during February-March 2018, and the death and destruction in several towns across the North-West region in May 2019, GTF said. “Sri Lankan law enforcement officials and politicians have failed to show leadership in arresting this dangerous trend. Hundreds of Muslims continue to be detained in suspicion of involvement in the Easter Sunday violence, whereas key persons behind the recent anti-Muslim violence were released without regards for due process. Galagoda Gnanasara, an extremist monk known for inciting violence against Muslims, was pardoned within a year of serving his six-year jail sentence by President Sirisena, who did not have the moral fortitude to express public sympathy or support for the beleaguered Muslim community and its leaders,” GTF added.Amidst these tense inter-communal relations, a stand-out is the collective decision made by all nine Muslim Ministers and two Muslim Provincial Governors to resign from their positions. As articulated by Minister Rauff Hakeem, their actions were aimed at easing the fear of the Muslim population that was ‘terrified’ and ‘feared bloodbath’; he also called on the government to expedite investigations into all accusations related to the recent violent incidents. For the Tamil people it is a sense of déjà vu from the fifties to the eighties – when discrimination and high-handed actions against Tamil civilians; mob violence with collusion of security forces and elements of the government; total impunity for perpetrators; and harassment and intimidation of their Parliamentarians, all the while Sinhala national leaders appeased Sinhala extremism. Such appalling failure alienated the Tamil community, which ultimately led to civil war, the impact of which will take many more years to overcome. It will be tragic if the Muslim community is subjected to the same fate and made to feel as second-class citizens in their own country, GTF said.The hard-line Buddhist forces have historically played an abominable role in preventing ethnic harmony, equality, and political power sharing among various communities. The latest events took this a step further which resulted in the resignation of Ministers and gave the agitators a pseudo-veto in deciding who could be in the government. This set a dangerous new precedent.“Our strong conviction is that the numerically minority communities and their political leaders need to work together and in partnership with progressive forces from the majority community to regain their safety, rights and pride of place in the country. The political and religious leaders representing the majority community need to act beyond pandering to extremist elements, with a vision to create equality among all communities. The international community too should play its part in ensuring that Sri Lanka does not slide into another dark age of ethnic and religious intolerance and violence. This is essential for peace in Sri Lanka,” GTF said in the statement. GTF said that a notable crescendo was the recent hunger strike by the Monk-Parliamentarian, Athuraliye Rathana, calling for the resignation of Muslim Ministers and Governors by implicating them to Easter Sunday violence. GTF supports a thorough investigation into Easter Sunday attacks to identify all those directly or indirectly contributed to that carnage and bring them to face the full force of the law. Unfortunately, pre-empting such a process with vague allegations and a hunger strike helped build mass momentum around these demands and created a tinderbox with potential for serious violence against the Muslim community. read more

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Subway to ensure Footlongs measure up after lawsuit

FILE – In this March 3, 2015, file photo, workers make sandwiches at a Subway sandwich franchise in Seattle. Subway promises to ensure its “Footlong” sandwiches measure up to settle a class-action lawsuit. The suit was sparked after a teenager posted a photo on Facebook showing his sandwich was only 11 inches. In October 2015, Subway’s parent company, Doctors Associates, agreed to a preliminary settlement, which was granted final approval on Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) Subway to ensure ‘Footlongs’ measure up after lawsuit by The Associated Press Posted Feb 29, 2016 10:53 am MDT Last Updated Feb 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Subway customers can finally rest assured that their “Footlong” sandwiches will be as long as promised.A judge last week granted final approval to a settlement of a class-action suit filed against Subway after an Australian teenager in 2013 posted an image of his sandwich on Facebook that was only 11 inches. The image garnered international media attention, with The New York Post writing that it found four out of seven Footlongs it purchased in New York “measured only 11 or 11.5 inches.”A judge had given preliminary approval in October to a settlement between Subway’s parent company Doctor’s Associates and plaintiffs’ attorneys. Final approval was granted on Feb. 25.As part of the settlement, Subway agreed to institute practices for at least four years to ensure its bread is at least 12 inches long. The judge approved $520,000 in attorney fees and $500 for each of the 10 individuals who were representatives of the class, but no monetary claims were awarded to potential members of the class.“It was difficult to prove monetary damages, because everybody ate the evidence,” said Thomas Zimmerman, who was co-lead attorney for the class. Zimmerman said the attorney fees are being split among 10 law firms.Subway said in a statement that it was pleased the judge found no wrongdoing on its part.“This allows us to move forward, without distractions, on our goal to provide great tasting sandwiches and salads, made exactly as each guest likes. We have already taken steps to ensure each guest receives the Footlong or six-inch sandwich they order,” the statement said.Lynn Adelman, a judge for the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, wrote in the final approval that the plaintiffs’ attorneys realized their claims “were quite weak” after an initial mediation session. Instead of trying to get class certification for monetary damages, he said plaintiffs decided to focus on injunctive relief requiring Doctor’s Associates to ensure its sandwiches are at least 12 inches long.Adelman wrote that the plaintiffs’ attorneys learned Subway makes its bread with “dough sticks” that weigh the same when they arrive at stores frozen. The dough is then thawed and stretched before baking, a process that can lead to variability in the size and shape of the resulting bread.While the dough may have different shapes, it still has the same quantity of ingredients, Adelman wrote. The amount of meat and cheese is also standardized, but it’s possible that a shorter bread loaf might lead to a slightly less toppings. For instance, “a sandwich that was 1/4-inch shorter than advertised might be missing a few shreds of lettuce or a gram or two of mayonnaise,” the judge wrote.But Adelman also noted that sandwiches are made in front of the customer, who can ask for more toppings.“Thus, the plaintiffs learned that, as a practical matter, the length of the bread does not affect the quantity of food the customer receives,” Adelman wrote.Still, Subway agreed as part of the settlement to take steps to ensure its bread is at least 12 inches long, including requiring franchisees to “use a tool for measuring bread.” read more

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